The traditional instrument representing Japan, Tsugaru shamisen. It has supported Japanese traditional culture for a long time from musical side. And on the other side, it has also supported the performance of the strolling entertainers abandoned by the public. A player creates various tones by a fine fingering and makes percussive sounds by beating the body of the instrument with a plectrum. The three strings are full of Japanese musical sensibility.
Shakuhachi is a woodwind instrument made of bamboo. Though it has a simple structure with removing nodes and five holes, it can produce a range of 3 octaves. Also the sound of nature such as the wind and the chirping of birds have been taken into the expression since earliest times. Until modern times it was used as a ritual implement of Buddhism. And a Buddhist group regarded the blowing of shakuhachi as a part of the training to attain spiritual enlightenment as well as Zen meditation.
SANSHIN of Amami Oshima
This instrument is used in singing folk songs in Amami Oshima (called Shima Uta) located in the South Seas of Japan. In this Album, this song is HONEN bushi (track 4). Shima Uta has developed uniquely because it is far away from the mainland of Japan, over the sea. The features are the frequent use of distinctive falsetto and the singing with a Sanshin. Sanshin originated from sānxiàn in China, as well as Shamisen. Although Shamisen culture got out of use in Japan, Sanshin is necessary in people’s life in Amami Oshima even now.